WORLD light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly has poured more fuel on the fire in his long-running feud with Enzo Maccarinelli.
The former friends, who trained together as part of Team Calzaghe for years, have been at loggerheads in recent times.
Swansea’s Maccarinelli, a former world cruiserweight champ, is desperate to fight Cleverly as he looks to rebuild his career at light-heavyweight after a series of damaging defeats but the champion has always dismissed the idea.
And now Cefn Fforest’s Cleverly has been helping Maccarinelli’s next opponent Ovill McKenzie by sparring with the Jamaican as he prepares to defend his Commonwealth title.
That fight is on the undercard of Cleverly’s clash with dangerous Ukranian Vyacheslav Uzelkov at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena on October 27.
And Cleverly is predicting a tough night for Maccarinelli when he takes on McKenzie, who won the title by knocking out Pontypool’s Jeff Evans inside 15 seconds last year.
“Ovill is a hard puncher and has given me some good preparation,” said Cleverly.
“He’s Commonwealth champion and is looking to hold on to his belt. I’m helping him with his sparring and his preparation and I think he’s looking good.
“It’s a good match-up on paper. Enzo is still a good fighter but he’s coming down a weight division and he’s very suspect with his jaw – he’s been knocked out many times.
“Ovill is a natural light-heavyweight and he’s a very good puncher so he should be favourite.”
Cleverly has promised his own title defence against Uzelkov will be a better spectacle than his last fight against American Tommy Karpency in February.
“Uzelkov will come to fight and he’s a good opponent,” said the 25-year-old.
“It’s the type of fight I like to be involved in and one the fans will enjoy. I’m looking forward to it.
“Karpency was a little bit negative and he stayed on the defensive.
“It’s difficult to break those guys down but Uzelkov is the opposite.
“He’ll go for it, try to knock me out. I think that’s his only way of beating me but that will leave opportunities for me.”
Cleverly took part in an open training session at the Cardiff City Stadium yesterday and is keen to face a big name there next year.
“There are a lot of guys on my radar,” he said.
“Bernard Hopkins has whispered he’d like to fight in January and that would be a big fight and Beibut Shumenov wants to fight me.
“He knows if he came over here he’d get beat so he wants home advantage and if that’s the case I’d be prepared to go to Las Vegas.”